Posts Tagged ‘Raw Foods’

Herbal Super-Foods Smoothie

Makes 3 ½ cups

Berries, homemade kefir, and an abundance of locally-grown and organic super-foods – it’s my favorite way to start the day!

1 ½ cups high-quality kefir

2 large egg yolks, from pastured hens (optional)

1 tablespoon local, organic bee pollen

1 tablespoon roasted dandelion root powder, see cooks note

1 ½ teaspoons nettle powder, see cooks note

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 large, fair-trade, organic banana

3 tablespoons organic flax meal (freshly ground flax seeds)

3 tablespoons organic, extra-virgin coconut oil

In the pitcher of a blender combine the kefir, optional egg yolks, bee pollen, nettle powder, and roasted dandelion powder. Blend on low until the powders are fully incorporated. Add the strawberries, blueberries, banana, and flax meal. Pulse on high until the fruit is fully incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the pitcher and push the fruit towards the blade.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm  the coconut oil until just melted, about 1 minute. With the blender running on low, slowly pour the coconut oil into the pitcher. Blend until the oil is fully incorporated, about one minute. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one day.

Cooks note:

Dandelion root can be harvested from your backyard or garden and roasted quite readily. However, it is nearly impossible to grind into a fine powder without industrial grinding equipment. For this smoothie I recommend purchasing organic, ground, roasted dandelion from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe in Portland and Brooklyn or Mountain Rose Herbs online).

Gathering wild stinging nettles and drying them at home is simple and quite rewarding (if you’re into it!). The best way to learn is always from someone else who has knowledge of the herb. Otherwise, purchase organic nettle leaf from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe or Mountain Rose Herbs) or purchase wildcrafted nettles in the market and dry them at home. Grind dried nettle leaf in a clean coffee grinder until it is reduced to powder, about 30-60 seconds.

Click here for my Kefir Recipe.

This recipe was shared at the Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog carnival, at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, at Mind, Body, and Sole’s Wildcrafting Wednesday, and at Recipe Lion’s Favorite Spring Recipe Share.


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Kefir Sauerkraut

Makes about 1 quart

Dairy kefir grains can be used to make quick and consistently delicious cultured sauerkraut. The kefir grains act as a starter culture for the cabbage, the ‘kraut ferments for just 2-3 days, and the results are predictable: tangy, crunchy, and palate pleasing. To preserve the probiotic content, heat raw, cultured sauerkraut to no more than 110 degrees F. Serve as a garnish to savory dishes like baked beans, vegetable or lentil salads, roasted meats, or stir-fries. This recipe is inspired by Dom’s Kefirkraut recipe.

1 medium sized white cabbage

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt

1 tablespoon dairy kefir grains, well rinsed (see cooks notes)

clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

Prepare a half-gallon (or one-gallon) wide-mouth glass jar by washing it in hot soapy water (use soap, not detergent). Remove any wilted or discolored outer leaves on the cabbage. Discard them. Peel off one crisp outer leaf. Trim it one-inch larger than the diameter of the jar. Set it aside to be used later as a cover for the sauerkraut.

Use a chef’s knife to half, core, and thinly slice the cabbage. Place one quarter of the sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Sprinkle with one quarter of the salt. Use a large wooden pestle, kraut pounder, or the flat end of a meat hammer to bruise the cabbage leaves. When the vegetables have been thoroughly bruised, add another quarter of the cabbage. Sprinkle with another quarter of the salt. Repeat the bruising process with the remaining cabbage and salt.

Place one half of the kefir grains in the bottom of the prepared jar. Add one half of the cabbage. Press down firmly with your pestle, pounder, or hammer. Evenly compact the cabbage within the jar. Add the remaining kefir grains. Then add the remaining cabbage. Again, press down to evenly compact the mixture. Cover the shredded cabbage with the reserved cabbage leaf. Tuck the edges of the leaf into the sides of the jar. Add a weight heavy enough to hold the cover leaf in place (see cooks notes). Add enough water to cover the top of the sauerkraut by one inch. Cover the top of the jar with a cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover tightly with a rubber band or string.

Store at room temperature (about 65-75 degrees F) until the kraut smells and tastes pleasingly tangy, about 2-3 days. Skim any foam that rises to the top during the fermentation period. If the liquid evaporates, add water to keep the sauerkraut covered by one inch.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. The taste of kefir kraut is stable for two weeks. After 2 weeks of storage it becomes increasingly, though pleasantly, tart. Eat within one month.

Cooks notes:

To prepare kefir grains for making sauerkraut rinse them in water until it runs clear. No traces of milk should remain.

If it fits through the opening in the sauerkraut jar, a pint-sized mason jar, filled with water, and capped tightly may be used as the weight. To use a stone as a weight for fermentation, select one that is non-porous, relatively heavy and flat, and fits easily through the mouth of your fermentation jar. Scrub the stone with hot soapy water. Then, sanitize it by dropping it into a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes (alternately, drop the stone into the silverware tray of the dishwasher and sanitize it with the next load of dishes).

Read more about Making Kefir

Read more about why Fermented Beverages are Homemade Probiotics and Multi-Vitamins

This recipe was shared on Fat-Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Hearth & Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, and at the Probiotic Food Challenge.

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Many of the talented from-scratch cooks that I know shy away from making homemade mayonnaise (also called aioli). The simple ingredients and fresh clean flavors inspire them, but the results sometimes disappoint. My results too, have always been varied. An emulsion of common kitchen staples (oil, eggs, vinegar, salt, and mustard) that can be made in minutes – had us bewildered. I was fed-up with inconsistent results and nutritional compromises from store-bought brands. I committed to discovering the secrets of a creamy, tangy, always goof-proof, homemade mayonnaise. Here are the secrets I’ve found and my recipe for Goof-Proof Mayonnaise.

High quality ingredients are essential to terrific mayonnaise. Eggs should be large and fresh (preferably less than two weeks old). Only use eggs from chickens that are allowed to forage and are fed a diet appropriate for hens. Raw eggs from healthy, naturally-raised fowl are unlikely to be contaminated or dangerous.

The neutral taste of high-oleic sunflower oil produces a classically flavored mayonnaise. Sunflower is preferable to other options for neutral tasting oils because it is unlikely to be contaminated by genetically engineered genes (even in organics genetic contamination can occur).  All sunflowers are currently non-GE.

Extra-virgin olive oil is also a safe and healthful option for lovely mayonnaise. The olive taste is prominent and I prefer to use it for garlic aioli.

Use white vinegar for a traditional tang. Dijon-style mustard, sea salt, and a small amount of whey (a natural preservative) complete the ingredient list. The whey is optional and can be omitted if desired.

When making mayonnaise have the ingredients at room temperature (about 70 degrees F). Remember that chilled eggs can be brought to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of warm (about 100 degrees F) water for about 15 minutes.

Always begin with the eggs, salt, mustard, and a small portion of the oil (¼ cup) in the pitcher of the blender. Use the lowest speed. The eggs, oil, and other ingredients will quickly emulsify. When the remaining oil is added slowly, in a thin stream, it is easily incorporated into the emulsion.

Always use the lowest speed on the blender. This discourages the emulsion from ‘breaking’ or separating into oil and egg. Should the mayonnaise ‘break’, it can be repaired. With the blender on low add an additional room temperature egg yolk. The emulsion should re-form.

Thus, the secret ingredients: Excellent eggs, neutral flavored oil (I prefer sunflower), mustard, sea salt to taste, white vinegar for classic zest, and naturally preservative whey. The goof-proof method: All of the ingredients must be at room temperature; begin with ¼ cup of the oil in the pitcher (along with the eggs, salt, and mustard), always use low speed, slowly drizzle in the remaining oil. Should the mayo ‘break’, simply add an extra yolk!

Goof-Proof Mayonnaise Recipe

This was shared on Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.

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Goof-Proof Mayonnaise

Makes about 1 ¼ cups

This recipe is the result of combining techniques from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and Nourishing Traditions.

1 cup high-oleic sunflower oil

1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon whey (strained from plain yogurt or other plain cultured dairy product), optional

Have all ingredients room temperature (about 70 degrees F). In the pitcher of a blender combine ¼ cup of the oil, eggs, mustard, and salt. Turn the blender on low speed. In a slow, thin stream add the remaining ¾ cup of oil. Stop the blender. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the pitcher. Add the vinegar and optional whey. Pulse on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. Use within 1 week if you have omitted the whey. Goof-Proof Mayonnaise will keep for 2 weeks with the addition of whey.

Begin with ¼ cup sunflower oil, eggs, mustard, and salt in the pitcher


Garlic Aioli

Substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the high-oleic sunflower oil. Add one clove of peeled garlic to the pitcher of the blender along with the ¼ cup oil, eggs, mustard, and salt.

Tips for Goof-Proof Homemade Mayonnaise

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Coconut Fig Balls

Makes 18

These sweet and satisfying snacks are inspired by Jessica Prentice’s Coconut-date Energy Balls. The natural sugars in the dried fruit are balanced-out by minerals from sea salt and fats from extra- virgin coconut oil. They can be made from dates, but the figs’ tiny edible seeds add a nice crunch.  Look for a brand of organic extra-virgin coconut oil that smells and tastes like coconut to use in this recipe.

2 cups unsulphured, unsweetened dried figs

1 cup +1/3 cup dried unsweetened, shredded coconut

½ cup + 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

grated zest of 1 lemon

Use a paring knife to remove the stem from each fig. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade combine the figs, 1 cup shredded coconut, ½ cup coconut oil, sea salt, and lemon zest. Pulse until the fig mixture is uniformly chopped and sticks together when pressed into a ball, about 2 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Use a double boiler to melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. This will only take a few minutes because coconut oil melts around 80 degrees F. Warm until just melted, being careful not to overheat. Pour the remaining 1/3 cup shredded coconut into a shallow bowl.

Use one tablespoon of the fig mixture to form a ball. Roll it in the melted oil. Then, roll it in the shredded coconut. Place on the lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the fig mixture is used up.

Refrigerate the coconut fig balls until they become firm to the touch, about 2 hours. Pack them into mason jars with lids tightly fitted. For a more portable snack, wrap each ball individually in waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in an insulated container with an ice pack all day.

These black mission figs were grown, dried, and gifted by my mom's partner, Buddy

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday and the Grain-Free Real Food Link Carnival.

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